Sunday, October 12, 2008
Apple pie filling
On Friday, a girlfriend of mine came over and we did some canning together. Even putting up the 'same old stuff' is more fun when you have company!
We started the day by picking apples. We hit up the first tree of tiny apples. Then we noticed that the other two small trees at the back of the property had two different types of apples on them. After a quick taste - we determined that these would be good 'pie' apples as well. We picked everything that was usable (mostly with scab) and they filled about half a bucket. Then we headed over to the two massive red delicious trees and picked a few of these as well.
We started with applesauce and made 7 quarts using a mixture of apples. I washed and prepped the apples, my friend cored/sliced them. After we'd put them through the food mill, we discovered that the sauce tasted very bland. We added spices and sugar and doctored it up enough. Then we canned it.
While this was going on, we also were making apple butter in the crock pot which smelled just amazing (as usual!).
The next project was apple pie filling. While I was hunting down a good recipe, I discovered a little bit of helpful info about red delicious apples. They are eating apples only. They apparently have no taste when cooked - guess that's why our apple sauce was so bland - too many red delicious in the mix! Live and learn! Though, I would like to mention that while they may not be good for cooking, they dry just beautifully! We dried half a dehydrator of them and they are very tasty. So for from now on, our red delicious apples will be eaten or dried. In fact, I spoke to our neighbor about taking a clipping off her tree of yummy apples. I'm going to graft it onto one of our trees, so I think I'll do it on the red delicious trees since we have way, way more than we will ever eat!
Anyway, I found what sounded like a good apple pie filling recipe and we set to work. The water, sugar and spices went into a pot to boil. The cornstarch and lemon juice and a little more water waited on the counter. Then we peeled, cored and sliced what we thought were enough apples. All the while, the jars were in the dishwasher keeping warm. When the apples were ready, we dumped the cornstarch water into the pot and mixed it. It thickened almost immediately. Then we set about filling jars. We filled 5 quart jars with apples and topped them with the sauce. We had just enough sauce left over to fill an additional pint jar, so we sliced another couple of apples for that and set them all into the canner to process. Twenty minutes later, we had what you see in the photo above!
Then we canned the apple butter before shutting down the stove for the evening. What a day!
On Saturday, I threw the apple pie apples from the pint jar into a pan. While it was heating, I made pancakes. When the pancakes were ready, so were the apples, so I piled them on. HEAVEN!! Seriously, it was so incredibly good!! In fact, it was so good that on Saturday evening after a day of painting (different post!), I spent a couple of hours making another 7 quarts of the filling! I altered the recipe a bit to make it slightly spicier and to make enough to fill 7 quarts with each recipe. And, you can bet that I'll be doing a few more batches in the coming week. I think this is my favorite canning item so far!
5 1/2 cups white sugar
1 cup cornstarch
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons salt
14 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
~8 pounds apples
1. In a large pot, mix sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and 12 cups of water. In another bowl, mix cornstarch, lemon juice and 2 cups of water. Bring first pot to a boil and when apples are ready, add cornstarch. Cook until thick and bubbly. Keep simmering until all jars are filled.
2. Sterilize canning jars, lids and rings and keep jars warm.
3. Peel, core, and slice apples. Pack the sliced apples into hot canning jars, leaving a 1 inch headspace.
4. Fill jars with hot syrup, and gently remove air bubbles with a knife. Leave a 1/2 inch headspace.
5. Put lids on and process in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.
Makes 7 quarts.